Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Next Big Thing - my turn

There's sort of viral blog hop thing going on, see, among the writers of the internet--or on Facebook at least. Someone tags you for this little interview, which you respond to and post on your own blog, You're also supposed to tag 4 or 5 more able writing bodies to pass it on. I seem to have fallen down on that last aspect: too many of my writing friends seem to have had a turn already, But my promised day for this is TODAY! So I'm going to go ahead and post now, and try to catch up on the tagging later this week.

I can tell you that I was tagged by the delightful Peter St John Dawe, whose response went up on his blog last week. He was tagged by Helen Hollick  who in turn was tagged by Joan Szechtman, and so on and so on. And here we go.

1. What is the working title of your next book?
Well, there's next and there's NEXT!
Book 2 in the Harper Errant series is King’s Raven, which comes out December 21.  Book 3, which I’m starting to revise now, is The Mermaid Stair

2. Where did the idea for the book come from? 
For King’s Raven, well, it’s the sequel to The Dragon Ring. When I finished that, I just had ideas coming at me from all sides, but the main one was that Raven ought to take the center stage in the next story. He is the king’s Raven of Faerie
The other started out as kind of a silly mistake, really.  One of my NaNoWriMo 2010 Writing Buddies used the handle “mermaidslair”, which I kept misreading as mermaid stair. The words creating such a curious image and led to some interesting questions.

3. What genre do these books fall under?
Trust me not to have an easy answer to this.
Obviously anything that involves faeries,  magic, and/or mermaids is a fantasy. But the books in this series are not just some fluffy Saturday morning cartoon, and they are not intended for children. Evoking the deeper  traditions, as they do, moves them into the realm of mythic fantasy.  But I also think of the series as historical fiction because significant events take place at several points in a well-researched past—Elizabethan, Victorian, even Roman London—as well as the modern city. Getting there, even by magical means, adds a dimension of time travel. Anyone who needs nice neat categories may have trouble with the combination, but I hope they’ll give it a chance.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? 
In my mind, Ben Harper has always been Michael Shanks, specifically as Dr Daniel Jackson (Stargate SG-1). I actually describe Aubrey (Oberon) as looking like Rupert Everett with long hair and an earring—very elegant, self-contained, never in a hurry. Although Richard Armitage is a close second. Raven? Would have to be played by whoever the current tall, dark and handsome, blue-eyed young British actor happens to be—Benedict Cumberbatch, for example

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
            King’s Raven: When Raven, the king of Faerie's principal gentleman,  is snatched into the past by a spell emanating from three different times, Ben Harper must join forces with an Elizabethan magus and a Victorian spinster to stop a sorceress whose ancient grudge could unbind the king from his throne and kill the creative heart of the mortal world.
            Mermaid Stair: The faeries of river, lake, and stream are disappearing, and it’s up to Ben and Raven to track down and stop the bitter man bent on their destruction. 

6. Are you publishing the books yourself? 
The series is being published by Crooked Cat, a great little independent publisher based in the United Kingdom.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the 
King’s Raven took three months, basically the summer of 2010. Mermaid Stair took exactly 30 very intense days of solid writing in the following November.  In other words, it was my NaNoWriMo project that year.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 
It’s not quite like anything else, although if I had to point to direct influences, I’d say Marie Brennan’s Midnight Never Come. I’ve occasionally been compared to Charles DeLint.  If you like either of them, I think you’ll like my books too.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Simply put, the energy generated by characters in Dragon Ring literally inspired me to write King's Raven. When that was over, I knew there were more stories for Ben and Raven, and a little quirk of spelling (see #2) inspired Mermaid Stair. I've been a writer all my life, so it didn't take much coaxing. These stories may not change the world, but they're an awful lot of fun.
The direct inspiration fro most of the faeries in my stories is the artwork of Brian Froud.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
I've done something a little unusual, I think, in not just adding faeries to time travel and so on. I've taken a step away from the old world to introduce the wee folk (mikumwess) of the U.S. Mid-Atlantic coast into King's Raven. 
In Mermaid Stair you'll come to see that Oberon is not really the kind of king you might expect, not a king in the feudal sense. Faerie is not a kingdom so much as a construct that essentially operates and is bound together by his will. It's both smaller and larger than it was in times past, with layers twisted in on themselves and time, too. Oberon has taken on aspects of the old gods as they have faded,retired,or disappeared. He is said to be three thousand years crowned king of Faerie, but there are forces older than he is in the world, with whom he keeps a relationship that... well, you'll have to see for yourself.

King's Raven debuts on December 21 in both paperback and Kindle editions. (Other online booksellers shortly thereafter.)  And of course, you can read Book 1, The Dragon Ring right now.

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